Indianapolis still hopeful of 2009 F1 race

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

2008 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Moto GP circuit

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is still sending out positive signals about its desire to hold a 2009 United States Grand Prix.

The circuit owners have made a point of stating that the Moto GP race held for the first time this year is not a replacement for F1 (it’s behind held in September, not June), and that the revised track (above) is suitable for F1 cars.

The new track is similar to what was predicted here just over a year ago.

The direction has been reversed (and so is now anti-clockwise, as the oval is when it is used), the banked corner replaced with a new section which also requires a change to the pit exit, and the horrible double hairpin replaced with a revised bend (see ‘ten worst chicanes’ for more on that…)

I hope F1 does come back to America in 2009 but although I’m glad to see the double hairpin go I’m not sure about the new first corner. I liked that the old configuration used at least one bend of the mighty speedway and the long flat-out section made for good overtaking opportunities into the original first turn.

But if this what it takes to get a United States Grand Prix back then so be it. Here’s hoping they find a sponsor.

More debate: Where should the United States Grand prix be held?

Thanks to Scott Newton for the tip.

2009 F1 season

51 comments on “Indianapolis still hopeful of 2009 F1 race”

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  1. Not quite – I think it was a 2007 spec Champ Car versus a 2004 or 2005 spec F1 car. Zonta would have been using Bridgestone’s ‘demonstration’ tyres which are rock-solid and nothing like as grippy as their race tyres.

    And perhaps most importantly, the times weren’t set on the same day. Bourdais presumably did his time when the track was heavily rubbered in. Zonta was at some kind of festival/demonstration thing, so there might have been all kinds of rubbish on the track. To say nothing of differences in climactic conditions.

    However, F1 cars certainly aren’t getting quicker year-on-year at the rate they used to, and it’s entirely because of the regulations as you suspect.

  2. Watkins Glen- Great course, absolutely in the middle of no where. Two roads in and out. We went to the Bud at the Glen NASCAR race several years ago, it took 3 hours to exit the parking lot, and another 2 to reach an interstate. Not to mention spartan paddock facilities.

    If there were an F1 race at The Glen would I go? In a heartbeat! Will it ever come back as an F1 venue? Unlikely.

  3. Rick DeNatale
    12th April 2008, 20:03

    I’d love to see a USGP back at the Glen, even though I no longer live anywhere near.

    It’s got nearly three times as much tradition of hosting F1 with 20 USGPs held there, Indy and Long Beach are next with 8 each,  then Detroit with 7.  Other big cities haven’t worked out very well Vegas only had 2, Dallas and Phoenix one each.

    The Glen is a great venue for spectators once you get there.

    The thing which did it in was definitely the remoteness, and lack of deluxe accommodations for the F1 jet set.

    Some of the Glen traditions, such as "The Bog" are more questionable.

  4. John Chester
    15th April 2008, 7:54

    Hi, all. Seems the presence of turns 12-14 several years back might have meant a full grid instead of six cars participating. However, this is in NO WAY intended to absolve Michelin of blame. The tire was a safety hazard. Michelin’s teams paid the peanlty and did not race. I’m a Ferrari fan!

    As far as where should the USGP be held, let me first say I am an American fan of F1 and attended four of the races at Indianapolis.

    I was not enamored of the circuit — a high-speed section and a slow infield section. Also, no elevation changes. Not much of a challenge for the drivers although the high- and slow-speed sections makes setting up the car a bit of a pain. Nothing resembling a signature corner.

    Having the USGP in Indianapolis is better than having a USGP in the parking lot of a Las Vegas Casino or on a street circuit in Detroit.  But unfortuantely, I don’t think the location I’m seeking exists now. It would have to be built.

    I’d be able to live with the USGP taking place at Indianapolis until a new location was ready to come on line. I’d like the race to take place on a road course that is akin to a F1 circuit in Europe, Asia or South America. And I’d like the race to take place in a city that has a more international feel or one that also is a vacation destination.
    In the cities I’ll mention, seems that a road or street course would have to be built there.

    A city with an international feel would be New Orleans. Hosting a F1 race would bring in $ that hopefully could somewhat ease the hardship still being endured by some following Hurricane Katrina.

    The two cities that are tourist destinations would be Miami and San Diego. 

    Indianapolis is a nice city. Don’t get me wrong. As I said earlier, I’ve been to four races there. But it just doesn’t seem to me to be an appropriate F1 venue.  The lone North American venue that now host a F1 race — Montreal — does have an international feel, I think.

    The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has history. But it doesn’t have F1 HISTORY like a Spa-Francorchamps or a Monza.

    I don’t think upgrading an existing road course such as Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen or Road America to F1 specs is the way to go. Also, these tracks are a bit remote in terms of major airports, kinda like wonderful — NOT — Magny-Cours.

    I’d love to see the USGP return, but only to Indianapolis until a more suitable location was ready. However, due to the fact that F1 is not at the top of the auto racing food chain in the United States, such a location may never be built.

    In nations where F1 is at the top of the food chain, no problem getting a new track built. These nations include Malaysia, Bahrain, Turkey, etc.

    But if a day arrived when Hermann Tilke was to scope out a new circuit in the United States, I’d be very happy.

    Just one man’s opinion. Would love to hear what others think.

    Best regards.

    John Chester
    Trenton, NJ USA

  5. John,

    Great to see another F1 fan in the Mid-Atlantic region on here! You make some very good points about the layout at Indy and it’s shortfalls compared to some of the other spots on the schedule. I’ve yet to attend my first GP, so I can’t offer much for discussion, but i’d also love to see a true F1-spec track with those features exist some somewhere here in the US.

    Unfortunetly, finding someone to put up the money for that would not be easy. Even if funding came online right now, you’re looking at a few years at least to build the track. While Indy may not be the top choice, I believe it is the best option for getting the USGP back on the schedule as soon as possible. If all of us in the states want to see F1 back here, it needs to come back soon, given all the news GPs popping up in new places.

    Thanks for the commentary, and hopefully i’ll see you and many of the bunch from this site at Indy in the near future!

  6. John Chester
    16th April 2008, 7:11

    Hi, Gman. Always great to meet a fellow F1 fan, especially one who is nearby. My lone friend is nearby who also is a F1 fan is in Wilmington, DE, about 90 minutes to the south. He and I travelled to races in both Montreal and Indianapolis. I guess we US F1 fans are like the US Marines, the few, the proud.

    I agree that getting a US Grand Prix, even if it is at Indy, back on the calendar is the way to go. But my only fear is that the same problems will recur. 

    Not enough fan support to make the race a financial success for all parties concerned. Most racing fans in the US view F1 as a "foreign" series.
    And since not enough fan support, not enough sponsorship (something Tony George is seeking to address) and likely not much revenue coming from television broadcast rights from either Speed Channel or a network.

    I’ve always felt that F1 doesn’t need the US to be successful. And that F1 shouldn’t bend over backwards if US fans "don’t get it."

    If US fans are going to be content to watch dogs chase their tails (spend money to watch stock of Indy cars race primarily on oval tracks), there are other nations CLAMORING for a spot on the F1 calendar.

    I saw recently where another GP is set to debut in the Middle East in 2009. Competition continues to intensify for the precious few spots on the F1 calendar.

    Indianapolis has to take a cold, hard look at the USGP from a business perspective. Does it make $ after covering expenses, including however much goes to Bernie. If it doesn’t, then I can’t blame Tony George for saying, "Thanks, but no thanks." 

    If that is the case, I’ll be sad, but will live with it. I can still easily go to Montreal. And there are a handful of international venues I want to visit, basing a vacation around a F1 race.
    I’m glad to send along my E-mail to you if doing so is allowed by the site. In addition to my friend in Delaware, I have only three other acquaintances who are F1 fans. They are in California.

    Best regards.

    John Chester
    Trenton, NJ USA

  7. John,

    Thnaks for your opinion and insight! I will contact Keith and see if he can forward my email along to you- while this appears to be a fantastic group of people posting here, I do not want to post my email for obvious reasons.

    I do know a handful of F1 fans around my area. The interesting thing about most them is that they don’t ust follow F1, but also are avid followers of NASCAR, IndyCar and even NHRA racing! It was my previous idea that F1 fans were not very interested in those other series and vice versa, but these people are very enthusiastic about F1 and yet follow many other forms of the sport- quite an interesting perspective! I think it gose to show that many people in America can and will develop an interest in the sport if it continues to grow here.

    On the subject of races in the other nations, I also hope to visit some other venues to see F1. However, i’ll always pull for F1 to have a presence in America and will always try to make sure I can attend that race before any other. For example I hope to visit the Canadain GP in the next few years, after i’ve completed grad school and have a permenent job that I can take some vacation time from to see both races of the North American doubleheader because I woulden’t want to miss the American leg of it as well.

    I must admit that a good part of my reason for wanting the USGP to return is me just being a proud American- I want to be able to see my nation’s name among the other great countries of the world on the GP schedule. It dose indeed need to make some financial profit, but I think that can be done. I recently wrote an article on the subject for my campus newspaper that you can check out at the link below. It’s nothing that you probably don’t already know, but you may recognise the expert source i’ve used!

    Best regards!

  8. Personally, I can’t see why F1 can’t race full oval tracks? It is a little embarrassing trying to get Americans to watch F1, when they are used to watching Indycars tearing around the Brickyard at 215mph.
    The middle section of Indianapolis used in the F1 races is horrible, real Micky Mouse chicanes and only one half decent straight. At the end of the day, fans want to see the cars on the ‘ragged edge’ and the drivers pushed to the limit.
    Ofcourse, Ralf Schumacher’s crashes in 2004 and 2005 did raise safety concerns, but in both cases, the cars in question, one a Williams the other a Toyota, both stood up extremely well to the impacts they recieved.
    Going off at the Paribolica backwards is no less dangerous than going off at Indianapolis, or at Eau Rouge.
    This latest reconstruction of the Brickyard, in order to cater for F1, deliberately leaves out the one thing
    this race had going for it, the banking.
    How can F1, and us as its fans, look all those other series in the eye and claim to be superior to them?
    When we don’t even race one race on a track like they do. Instead of testing the cars at Silverstone, try testing one at Rockingham, UK, and gain some feedback?
    If we are prepared to race through Singapore at night under the lights, atleast we could try to race on an oval once in a while.

  9. I’m totally with you on that. I would love to see F1 racing on ovals. Might make a post out of that actually!

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